Krista Wallace-Boaz, professor of Piano, assistant dean for Student Programs and the director of Graduate Studies in the School of Music, took over as Faculty Senate chair this summer after a tumultuous three years at the university filled with leadership changes, lawsuits and scandals.
Despite the work and long hours endured by her predecessor (law professor Enid Trucios-Haynes) in the chair’s role, Wallace-Boaz didn’t hesitate to pursue the role.
“There are many changes at the university that are occurring at a staggering rate. New leadership, including the office of the president, has established a strong partnership with the faculty and is openly committed to shared governance,” she said.
She is especially looking forward to working with President Neeli Bendapudi.
“(Bendapudi) is student focused and completely committed to an equal partnership with the faculty, staff and students. I appreciate the deep love for the university that she has demonstrated in her few months on campus, and I am excited to work closely with her on both internal and external issues,” she said.
Wallace-Boaz, a Somerset native, has been teaching at UofL since 2000, and also earned her bachelor of music degree in Piano Performance here before going on to Northwestern University, where she earned master of music and a doctor of music in piano performance and pedagogy degrees.
Following her doctoral hooding ceremony from Northwestern, Wallace-Boaz lived in the Chicago area for eight years. However, she missed Kentuckiana and moved back in 1999 to teach at Indiana University Southeast for a year.
“After accepting the position at the University of Louisville in 2000, I was completely excited to be returning,” she said.
This marks Wallace-Boaz’s eighth year as a faculty senator. She has served as chair of the Redbook Committee, vice chair of the senate and chair of the Executive Committee. Taking over as chair seems like a natural progression.
“I remember my very first Faculty Senate meeting during which I was impressed with the commitment to shared governance demonstrated by my colleagues,” she said. “While the past three years have been filled with turmoil and unique challenges, I believe that the students, faculty and staff form the strong heart of the university, and that we will continue to be a leader in higher education for the persistence and demonstration of transparent communication and shared governance.”
Wallace-Boaz said her leadership style in this role focuses on two key points – listening and process.
“I believe strongly that communication begins with the ability to listen and understand the details of the issue and how it is affecting all parties involved. No issue is too small, and never should one apologize for sharing a problem or concern,” she said. “How issues are addressed is critical. Taking five minutes to discuss methods and processes can be the difference in effective and poor communication.”
In fact, communication is one of her main priorities.
“Effective communication is critical but challenging in an institution of this size,” she said. “I will continue to work closely with campus partners to optimize our methods of communication.”
Getting to know Wallace-Boaz
We asked Wallace-Boaz a quick round of personal questions to get to know her a little better.
Favorite thing about UofL: “The people!”
Favorite spot on campus: “That is a tough one. I love the campus and how it has transformed since my undergraduate years (1988-1992). To pick one, I would choose Grawemeyer Hall and the Oval. I love studying The Thinker, reminding me of the necessity to take time for thought and reflection during these busy days, and then walking up the steps into Grawemeyer, thinking of all the students, faculty, staff, administrators and many others who have walked these steps over the past decades with the ultimate goal of creating a strong university for the present and the future.”
What do you do in your free time: “I love to read (I am currently in two book clubs on campus) and to draw Zentangles. People are surprised when I do not list ‘playing piano.’ I LOVE the piano, it is my artistic life and central to my teaching and research and creative activities. It is an important part of each day, especially when preparing for a concert or recording, so I do not include it when considering free time.”
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: “Be yourself.”